Bob Due's Terraced Gardens Farm  Premium Produce - Pesticide and Herbicide Free
My business card and promotional material states that I am "pesticide and herbicide free" and there is no reference to me being "Organic".  Why?

My background in agriculture goes all the way back to the organic dairy farm where I started growing my own garden at the age of 4 or 5 years.  I followed everything organic until the mid 1970's.  Everything I was reading seemed to be a replay of previous publications as each problem that a grower was having was being answered in much the same way.  More compost, lime to adjust your pH and so on.  I felt that with the technology available that there should be a way to be much more specific about what to do with ones soil fertility.

In the early 70's, I heard my first speaker at an Acres USA conference talk about how the "Albrecht System" of soil fertility worked and the results farmers were getting following this system.  I read the books that had been published on this and later was able to attend an advanced course taught by Neal Kinsey who is the leading soil consultant in the world on the "Albrecht System".

I have been following the "Albrecht System" now for over 30 years and find it to be much more complete than the Organic system.  With either the Organic guidelines and the Certified Naturally Grown, the emphasis seems to be on what you can use and what you can't use to adjust your nutrient levels.  There is very little in the way of a guide as to how much of each nutrient one should have and then what to do specificly to make the adjustments.  With the "Albrecht System" this problem is addressed.

The "Albrecht System" is like a good bread recipe.  When you follow the bread recipe your results will be a good loaf of bread.   In the "Albrecht System" each nutrient has a "window"  that it needs to be within for optimum results.  This gives the plant a table to feed from that enhances its chances of being a healthy plant that is nutritious to eat and can resist diseases and insects.

The guidelines used in the "Albrecht System" are very precise.  We take the levels of each nutrient found and calculate how many ounces or pounds of a material it will take to reach the desired goal for the garden or field.  This can be figured for a few square feet or large fields of many acres.  The adjustments can be made all at once or over several years, depending on how much you  can spend per year to improve your fertility.

My own success on my cropping areas are the results of following these guidelines.  My soil was so poor that it would not support a cover crop of winter rye.  I do not have animal manures available so had to go another route for some of the missing nutrients. 

My phosphorous level was about 70 pounds per acre and I wanted it to be between 500 and 1000 pounds.  My calcium was very low and it needed to be at least 60% of the soil saturation.  Copper and zinc were both very deficient. 

I first addressed the calcium by applying very find ground high calcium lime.  And then I used a commercial fertilizer (DAP) that has a lot of phosphorous in a form that does not "tie up" when applied to the soil.  It also has enough nitrogen to grow a decent cover crop of winter rye and summer sudan grass.  At the end of 2 years, my soil levels of phosphorous were about 750 pounds per acre.

Melons were one crop that I could not grow.  After adding the needed copper and zinc, melons now produce good quality fruit.

The copper and zinc forms that I use are approved as a one time application per soil test needs.  Once the phosphorous levels are where I want them, I don't use the DAP.  I still supplement a little N as Ammonium Sulfate on some crops and am beginning to use fish emulsion on others.

With the levels of nutrients that this system uses, the produce is full of flavor, vitamins, minerals and proteins.

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This page was last updated: March 11, 2011
Above is the Soil Fertility file in pdf format of my presentation on January 28, 2010 in Nashville, TN. at the Farmers Market Forum.  You will be able to view the pages as you listen to the audio file below.   Open this page in one browser window.    I think you will find this presentation interesting and informative.  Enjoy
This is the audio file of the fertility portion of my presentation to the TN Farmers Market Forum on January 28, 2010.  Open this in the second browser window and you can follow the PDF presentation with me making comments about each page.  It ends abruptly because I edited this from the rest of the presentation.